Thailand is a country with a rich cultural heritage and long history. Despite this there are fewer top quality museums in Thailand than in European countries with a similarly long history. However, there are still a few excellent museums that should definitely be visited if you want to gain an overview of Thailand’s history.
National Museum of Thailand
As the name would suggest, the National Museum of Thailand is the largest, most well funded museum with the best collection of artifacts and displays pertaining to various periods of Thailand’s history.
Although there are several branches of The National Museum in various cities of Thailand, including a museum in Ayuthaya, the main museum is locatedin Bangkok. Artifacts on display at the museum include ancient Buddha images and statues as well as stone carvings of Hindu gods.
There is also an interesting collection of Thai period costumes and musical instruments that are hard to see elsewhere.
The National Museum of Thailand is about a 15 walk from the Grand Palace and because it’s the largest museum in South East Asia you should really allow at least a few hours to peruse the different halls. The National Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Vimanmek Mansion Museum in Thailand
The Vimanmek Museum was originally built as a mansion at the turn of the 20th century for the revered King Rama V.
Today the mansion has been converted into a museum offering 1 hour guided tours which provide an interesting insight into the history and lives of the Thai royal family. On display is plenty of royal memorabilia including photos, portraits, ceremonial clothes and even a horse drawn carriage.
Opium Museum in Thailand
Vary different from the national museum but no less interesting is the opium museum located in the town of Chiang Saen which is in the north of the country, not far from the museums in Chiang Mai.
Opium is a traditional part of life in this region and it is befitting that a museum should be available to explain different aspects of the cultivation and business of opium that has prevailed for so long. The museum has been recently refurbished with many new and interesting displays.